13 Variations on "Sex, Drugs, and Rock 'n' Roll" From Around the World


Sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll—that holy trinity of hedonism—is a more timeless trio than you’d think. The first identified use of the phrase as we know it was in a 1969 LIFE magazine piece, which declared, “The counter culture has its sacraments in sex, drugs and rock.” Two years later, a writer for the Spectator, a British magazine, also attempted to wrap his head around "kids these days," saying, “Not for nothing is the youth culture characterized by sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll.” 

But the phrase really took off in 1977, when British musician Ian Dury released a song using a version of the expression as its title. Since then, variations have been used to name movies, a TV show, books, albums, and yes, even more rock songs.

Dury’s tune may have popularized the term “sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll,” but it’s really just one iteration of the much older expression, “wine, woman, and song.” As a hendiatris—a figure of speech that uses three words or phrases to make it more memorable—“wine, woman, and song” conveys a set of priorities that are pretty universal in appeal. Variations on the phrase have existed across cultures for hundreds of years. 

It’s not clear who coined the phrase, but it most likely originated in a German song lyric and was in print by the 1770s: Wer nicht liebt Wein, Weib und Gesang, der bleibt ein Narr sein Leben lang.” (English translation: “Who does not love wine, women, and song, remains a fool his whole life long.”)

Although some scholars attribute the couplet to a song written by theologian Martin Luther, others claim a German writer named Johann Heinrich Voss first said it. Still others keep it vague, attributing the couplet to an anonymous author. We do know that in 1839, the German phrase first appeared in a British magazine, attributed to Luther.

The concept of “Wein, Weib, und Gesang” (“wine, woman, and song”) even made its way into the original German national anthem, and musicians ranging from Johann Strauss II to Loretta Lynn have written tunes called “Wine, Women, and Song.” John Keats even wrote a poem called “Give Me Women, Wine, and Snuff” in 1817, apparently choosing sniffable tobacco over music as his vice of choice. 

Some of these variations on the “illicit substance" + "women" + "music” formula are: 

1. Polish: Wino, kobiety i śpiew ("wine, women and singing") 

2. Finnish: Viini, laulu ja naiset ("wine, song, and women") 

3. Sanskrit/Hindi: Sur, Sura, Sundari ("music, wine and woman") 

4. Portuguese: Putas, música e vinho verde ("whores, music and green wine") 

5. Danish: Vin, kvinder og sang ("wine, women and song") 

6. Czech: Ženy, víno a zpěv ("women, wine and singing") 

7. Norwegian: Piker, vin og sang ("girls, wine and song") 

8. German: Wein, Weib und Gesang ("wine, woman and singing") 

9. Swedish: Vin, kvinnor och sång ("wine, women and song") 

10. Georgian: ღვინო, დუდუკი, ქალები ("wine, pipe music, women")

11. Italian: Bacco, tabacco e Venere ("Bacchus, tobacco and Venus") 

12. Turkish: At, Avrat, Silah ("horse, woman, weapons") 

13. Bulgarian: Пиене, ядене и някоя сгодна женица ("drink, food and a good woman")

Study up and you’ll be ready to rock wherever you are.  

James Duong, AFP/Getty Images
The Latest Way to Enjoy Pho in Vietnam: As a Cocktail
James Duong, AFP/Getty Images
James Duong, AFP/Getty Images

Pho is something of a national dish in Vietnam. The noodle soup, typically topped with beef or chicken, can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. There’s even a version of it for happy hour, as Lonely Planet reports.

The pho cocktail, served at Nê Cocktail Bar in Hanoi, contains many of the herbs and spices found in pho, like cinnamon, star anise, cilantro, and cardamom. Without the broth or meat, its taste is refreshingly sweet.

The drink's uniqueness makes it a popular choice among patrons, as does the dramatic way it's prepared. The bartender pours gin and triple sec through the top of a tall metal apparatus that contains three saucers holding the spices. He then lights the saucers on fire with a hand torch as the liquid flows through, allowing the flavors to infuse with the alcohol as the drink is filtered into a pitcher below.

The pho cocktail
James Duong, AFP/Getty Images

Pham Tien Tiep, who was named Vietnam’s best bartender at the Diageo Reserve World Class cocktail competition in 2012, created the cocktail six years ago while working at the famous French Colonial-era hotel the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi, according to AFP. He has since brought his signature drink to several of the stylish bars he owns in Vietnam’s capital, including Nê Cocktail Bar.

Initially, he set out to create a drink that would represent Vietnam’s culture and history. “I created the pho cocktail at the Metropole Hotel, just above the war bunkers where the American musician Joan Baez sang to the staff and guests in December 1972 as bombs fell on the city,” Tiep told Word Vietnam magazine. “The alcohol in the cocktail is lit on fire to represent the bombs, while spices, such as chili and cinnamon, reflect the warmness of her voice.”

Tiep has a reputation for infusing his drinks with unusual local ingredients. He has also created a cocktail that features fish sauce, a popular condiment in Vietnam, and another that contains capsicum, chili, and lemongrass in an ode to the bo luc lac (shaking beef) dish, according to CNN.

[h/t Lonely Planet]

Just 5 Alcoholic Drinks a Week Could Shorten Your Lifespan

Wine lovers were elated when a scientific study last year suggested that drinking a glass of wine a day could help them live longer. Now a new study, published in The Lancet, finds that having more than 100 grams of alcohol a week (the amount in about five glasses of wine or pints of beer) could be detrimental to your health.

Researchers from the University of Cambridge and the British Heart Foundation studied the health data of nearly 600,000 drinkers in 19 countries and found that five to 10 alcoholic drinks a week (yes, red wine included) could shave six months off the life of a 40-year-old.

The penalty is even more severe for those who have 10 to 15 drinks a week (shortening a person’s life by one to two years), and those who imbibe more than 18 drinks a week could lose four to five years of their lives. In other words, your lifespan could be shortened by half an hour for every drink over the daily recommended limit, according to The Guardian, making it just as risky as smoking.

"The paper estimates a 40-year-old drinking four units a day above the guidelines [the equivalent of drinking three glasses of wine in a night] has roughly two years' lower life expectancy, which is around a 20th of their remaining life," David Spiegelhalter, a statistician at the University of Cambridge who was not involved with the study, tells The Guardian. "This works out at about an hour per day. So it's as if each unit above guidelines is taking, on average, about 15 minutes of life, about the same as a cigarette."

[h/t The Guardian]


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